Own a business where the clients come to you

After being made redundant from his accountancy job of 15 years, Ray Millin has built a future for himself with TaxAssist Accountants. Derin Ibrahim interviews

Franchising appeals to different people for different reasons - for Ray Millin becoming a TaxAssist Accountants franchisee provided him the opportunity of taking control of his career after being made redundant. Working as an accountant for a finance company, Ray was made redundant after 15 years of employment.

'In May 2005 it was decided that the role I was doing was no longer viable so I took voluntary redundancy,' explains Ray. 'I didn't want to start new at a different company so I decided to look into franchising.'

Having analysed a variety of different types of franchises, Ray decided to invest in a TaxAssist Accountants franchise. He remembers: 'I looked at a number of franchises but once I thought about it I decided TaxAssist Accountants was right for me as I was already a qualified accountant. Also I liked the people at head office - they are all very professional.'

After five weeks of training Ray launched his Halifax-based TaxAssist Accountants franchise in October 2005 and moved to a shop front business in January 2006. 'Having a shop front has been a huge benefit,' says Ray. 'I started off working from home while I waited for the premises to be ready and it meant that to find clients I had to actively go looking. Once I opened my shop clients started coming to me. It is the shop front that has enabled me to grow my client base.'

TaxAssist Accountants provides small businesses with expert advice tailored specifically for their needs, from the completion of end of year accounts and tax returns to payroll, VAT and bookkeeping. Franchisees also provide a wide range of additional services for small business clients including debt recovery, independent financial advice and personnel (HR) services.

Initially starting his business by himself Ray has seen his franchise flourish: 'After a while my wife joined me with the running of my business and then I took on another accountant. Within 12 months I'm looking to take on someone else to train up. Although I aim to keep my business growing, as I'm 55 I'm not going to expand into another shop. However when the time comes for someone to take over the business there will definitely be the client base for them to expand into another property.'